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Is PCBA laboratory well-equipped?

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Sep 2016 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Sept 9: How equipped is the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) laboratory? Such a question arises as the test of a water sample conducted by the PCBA, according to PCBA sources, failed to find any clue. The water sample was collected from Jorpukhuri in the Uzan Bazar area in the city where large-scale death of fish was reported on September 4.

Taking the matter seriously, the Kamrup (M) district administration asked the PCBA on September 5 to collect the water samples of the ponds, conduct the test and submit the report. Even as the PCBA is yet to submit its report to the authorities concerned, sources in the PCBA said that it got no clue to the reasons behind to the death of fish.

The PCBA test, according to inside sources, has found PH level of the water sample normal, dissolved oxygen in it normal and found no free ammonia in it. Is the PCBA laboratory well-equipped?

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India was on record saying in its report on performance and audit on environmental degradation in the greater Guwahati area, with special emphasis on the role of the PCBA, that ‘PCBA was monitoring only three of the twelve air pollutants notified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for monitoring... Besides, all monitoring stations were located in residential areas whereas there was no station in highly populated/vehicular density areas or in commercial, industrial and eco-sensitive areas’. If this is what CAG says on the reliability of PCBA’s test on air pollution, how come one relies on PCBA’s test on water pollution?

The CPCB had notified the tiol Ambient Air Quality Standard (AQS) in November 2009 with 12 identified pollutants, including gaseous pollutants – sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO) and Ammonia (NH3); two dust-related parameters PM10 and PM 25; three metals lead, nickel and arsenic; and two organic pollutants benzene and BaP-particulate.

However, during the audit, the CAG report said, it had been found that the PCBA had been monitoring only three pollutants – sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM/PM10) and Suspened Particulate Matter (SPM) regularly at all the 22 locations. It was also observed during the audit that the PCBA had not carried out any study regarding effects of air pollution on human health in Guwahati city.

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